At the Still Point: A Memoir

At the Still Point: A Memoir

by Carol Buckley
     
 

Carol Buckley has written an extraordinarily honest and moving account of her turbulent life as the youngest member of the famous Buckley family.

The last of ten children, her parents well into middle age and her siblings mostly grown by the time she was born, Carol Buckley describes the opulent neglect of her early childhood--a lost child left to the care of

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Overview

Carol Buckley has written an extraordinarily honest and moving account of her turbulent life as the youngest member of the famous Buckley family.

The last of ten children, her parents well into middle age and her siblings mostly grown by the time she was born, Carol Buckley describes the opulent neglect of her early childhood--a lost child left to the care of servants. She tells poignant anecdotes about her brothers and sisters in their youth, including her most well-known sibling, National Review editor William F. Buckley, Jr. This is no Mommie Dearest, but the facts of Buckley's upbringing do explain the crises that she would experience later on.

In Buckley's words, this is a book of resolution and self-discovery--instead of reinventing herself, she became the person she was meant to be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For most of her life, Buckley was one of ``the last generation of do-nothing women. `Homemakers'-that is what our passports say on the line that designates `profession.'" The youngest of 10 children in a wealthy, conservative Catholic family whose men were achievers (Senator James and writer-publisher William F. among them), she was groomed for marriage and motherhood, like all the women in her family. But two unhappy marriages in which she willingly played the dependent wife-a ``lady who lunched,'' shopped, gave parties, raised money for good causes, had her hair done and tried to be a good mother-left her with a sense of emptiness and no identity without a man. She became alcoholic and was institutionalized for a nervous breakdown. In her 40s, with help from a therapist, the author returned to college, earned degrees in psychology and social work and painfully discovered a life as a single, independent and productive woman. Her portrait of privileged, ornamental women is at once cutting and sympathetic. Her journey from glittering luxury to witnessing the lives of the troubled people she came to care for as a social worker testifies to the success of her transformation. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Buckley was the last child born into the large and privileged Buckley clan. (William F. Buckley Jr. is the most notable of the ten children.) She grew up among servants, feeling abandoned or neglected by her parents and siblings. How this abiding loneliness and the need to win affection led to self-destructive behavior later in life is the framework for these recollections and anecdotes from the little sister in a prominent family. Among her hurdles were two failed marriages, depression, a suicide attempt, and recovery from alcoholism. Although readers may feel as if they are listening behind a psychiatrist's couch, this book adequately recounts the by-now familiar journey of self-discovery made by many women born into the domestic traditions of the 1940s and 1950s, who painfully gained self-knowledge in their thirties and forties and achieved emotional independence in middle age. Recommended for general readers interested in women's perspectives and family gossip.-Carol A. McAllister, Coll. of William and Mary Lib., Williamsburg, Va.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684802176
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
01/09/1996
Pages:
255
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.79(h) x 0.91(d)

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